Carlos Montiel runs a small tattoo studio called Pain4Pleasure Tattoos in Azusa, CA, where he’s been tattooing for about seven years.
Carlos has also been riding for about 25 years and he currently owns a 2008 Can Am Spyder. He is a member of Forbidden Kings M.C. and you can typically find him riding in the canyons, on the streets or going the distance to Vegas. “As long as I’m on the road,” he says. “I’m happy.”
Carlos got into tattooing because he has always been into drawing and had friends that tattooed. One day, he showed a friend his work and his friend suggested Carlos pick up a tattoo gun. At that point, Carlos got all his own tattoo equipment and apprenticed under his friend until he was able to tattoo on his own. Read on to find out more about Carlos and life as a tattoo artist.
What did it take for you to become a tattoo artist?
I practiced a lot before I started tattooing. I was working as a graphic designer at the time, so I had to make time between family, work, riding and traveling. But I just knew i had to do it because it was something i had a passion for. It came easy to me and once I made the time to get started, I was unstoppable.
What do you love about tattooing?
I love the freedom and the chance to meet new and interesting people. I get bored doing the same thing every day but with tattooing and body piercing, the routine is never the same. I travel around California from San Diego to the bay in Northern Cali. I do a lot of work in Las Vegas as well.
What are your favorite types of tattoos to do?
I like to do color tattoos but I’ll do all kinds. All I care about is that the customer is happy with the finished tattoo.
Any crazy stories about a tattoo you’ve done?
This guy wanted his last name down his back. It was going to be a big tattoo. I warned him that it was going to hurt and that he should think about it, but he insisted on moving forward. About half way through the tattoo, he tapped out and never came back to finish. Every time I see him, I ask him when he’s going to finish the tattoo and he just says ‘I should have listened to you. It hurt.’
How do you think your passion for riding and tattoos are related to each other?
Just like tattooing, I get out there and meet new people all the time. I don’t like to blend into the crowd. That’s why I have a Can Am that’s customized. It represents me and and my work.
If you could a spend a day riding or a day tattooing, which would it be and why?
This is a hard question to answer, so I’ll just say this: I would take a ride out to Vegas early in the morning, which would be a good three to four hour ride. Then I’d go to work on some tattoos and piercings for the next six to seven hours then hit the night life to end my night!